A new report released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has exceptionally good news for the future of renewable energy. Costs are set to drop by almost 40 percent in the next two years, with solar PV leading the pack in cost decreases, and “biomass for power, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind… all now provid[ing] electricity competitively compared to fossil fuel-fired power generation.”
The report, “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2014,” echoes data from a recent report by Deutsche Bank, which predicts grid parity in 80% of solar markets by 2017. Indeed, we have already seen dramatic drops in the cost of solar PV over the last few years; between 2010 and 2014, the cost of utility-scale solar dropped a whopping 50 percent, and since the end of 2009, solar PV module costs have fallen 75%. In some areas utility-scale solar costs as little as USD 0.08 per kilowatt-hour. Meanwhile in markets such as France, Germany and Australia the cost of residential solar is already below that of the grid price of electricity. And these costs are all set to fall further.
Other forms of renewable energy are also equally competitive. According to Renew Economy “The average cost of wind energy ranges from $0.06/kWh in China and Asia to $US0.09/kWh in Africa. North America also has competitive wind projects, with an average cost of USD 0.07/kWh, and some as low as USD 0.04/kWh.” Furthermore, IRENA reports “Biomass for power, geothermal and hydropower have provided low-cost electricity – where untapped economic resources exist – for many years.”
Related: Despite falling oil prices, renewables still cost less
Even some of those within the oil and gas capitals of the world recognize the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy, in spite of the currently low costs of oil. As Clean Technica reports, Dr Adaba Sultan Ahmed al Jabber, the minister of state of the United Arab Emirates told the IRENA conference in Abu Dhabi that the cost of solar is competing with traditional sources of energy, and that “If we have courage and opportunity to saying yes to thinking differently, could deliver better future.” A future without the oil that is currently central to the UEA’s economy.
It’s all remarkably good news, but as Adnan Amin, director-general of IRENA, explained in a statement, the growing benefits of renewables must be met with action: “It has never been cheaper to avoid dangerous climate change, create jobs, reduce fuel import bills and future-proof our energy system with renewables, this requires public acknowledgement of the low price of renewables, an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, and regulations and infrastructure to support the global energy transition.”
For a thoroughly comprehensive breakdown of the numbers, head over to Clean Technica
Via Clean Technica
Lead and Second images via Shutterstock